Kevin Love's earlier-than-expected return to the Cleveland Cavaliers paid dividends against the Utah Jazz.
Love, who had not played since February 11, logged 20 minutes and came one rebound shy of a double-double (10 points, nine rebounds) to help Cleveland score an important 91-83 win over Utah in his return.
The four-time All-Star was a surprise addition to the starting lineup about an hour before tipoff.
He underwent arthroscopic surgery on February 14 to remove "loose bodies" in his left knee and at the time was given a 6-8 week recovery timeline.
But Love was cleared by team medical staff after participating in drills Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said earlier this week Love was on track to return during Cleveland's upcoming four-game road trip, which begins Saturday.
Instead, he was able to settle in for a game at Quicken Loans Arena before hitting the road.
Not a moment too soon for the defending NBA champions, who went 7-6 with Love out of the lineup, ceding ground to the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards for the Eastern Conference's top seed.
The Cavaliers, now winners of two in a row, saw both Kyrie Irving (left knee tightness) and Iman Shumpert (sprained left shoulder) exit Thursday's game with injuries, though coach Tyronn Lue said both are "fine" and not expected to miss a game.
Love is in the midst of his best season in Cleveland, averaging 20 points and 11.1 rebounds before the injury.
24 de agosto 2017
|PSG asked for Nice midfielder Seri to f*** Barca – agent|
|I think WTF? It´s your job – Klopp tells players to deliver|
|Red Sox add speedy outfielder Davis in trade with A´s|
|Neymar on same level as Messi and Ronaldo – Dupraz|
|Season over for Cardinals closer Rosenthal, who needs Tommy John surgery|
|Britton´s record consecutive saves streak ends at 60|
|Surely there´s better? – Riise questions Lovren|
|Hansen: All Blacks have to be better|
|Real Madrid 2 Fiorentina 1: Banned Ronaldo nets stunner in Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu|
|Gay players in Premier League would get respect - Pogba|
|Mayweather confident McGregor ´gamble´ will pay off|
|Nagelsmann slams Hoffenheim´s Anfield collapse|
|Klopp delights in Liverpool´s perfect storm|
23 de agosto 2017
|Champions League Review: Can bags brace as Liverpool qualify|
|Champions League is where Liverpool belong - Henderson|
|Wolves, Forest provide EFL Cup shocks as Burnley claim derby bragging rights|
|McGregor vows to break ´old man´ Mayweather|
|Thomas´ injury was significant concern – Celtics GM|
|White: McGregor will become the biggest star on earth|
|Liverpool 4 Hoffenheim 2 (6-3 agg): Can at the double in Reds´ Champions League romp|
|De Boer unsure of Zaha return date|
|Messi and Pogba launch UEFA initiative|
|Koeman respects Rooney´s England retirement|
|Billy Payne retiring as Masters, Augusta National chairman|
|The poor kids are freezing - Law blames English weather for Windies´ woes|
|Carragher endorses Rooney´s England retirement|
|Bairstow claims consistency is the key for England|
|Sanchez: Spurs move is huge step forward|
|Hometown hero Rooney right to call time on England days|
|Dane Coles set for long-awaited All Blacks return|
|Evans would shine for Man City, says Northern Ireland coach O´Neill|
|Anything could happen - Becker excited ahead of US Open|
|FIFA takes control of Cameroon´s FA|
|Clucas completes Swansea move|
|Talent means nothing to me – Mertesacker outlines academy ethos|
|Schumacher Jr to drive at Belgian Grand Prix|
|Froome gains valuable Vuelta seconds as Lutsenko solos to victory|
|Emery embracing Neymar whirlwind as PSG aim to conquer the world|
|No words needed - Juventus midfielder Marchisio rejects transfer speculation|
|Vettel aiming to spoil Hamilton landmark – Belgian GP in numbers|
|Favre critical of Balotelli performance after jewellery shenanigans|
|Atletico star Griezmann lands two-game ban for ref outburst|
|A magnificent international career - Lineker and Owen lead Rooney tributes|
|West Brom tie Dawson to new contract|
|Toulouse confirm back operation for Scotland forward Gray|
|De Villiers commits to Test comeback, but relinquishes ODI captaincy|
|Record at 17 to striking down Scotland – Rooney´s top five England performances|
|Huddersfield snap up Sabiri|
|Gazzaniga joins Tottenham on five-year deal|
|England still need him - Eriksson urges Rooney retirement rethink|
|53 goals, but just one at the World Cup - Wayne Rooney´s England career in Opta stats|
|Maxwell struck by heatstroke in Bangladesh|
|Kawasaki Frontale 3 Urawa Reds 1: Kobayashi double puts hosts in control|
|Wayne Rooney retires from England international duty|
|Biggar focused on Ospreys amid Saints speculation - Tandy|
|Mayweather v McGregor: They said what?! The best sound bites from a verbal sparring epic|
|Vandoorne retains McLaren seat for 2018|
|FIFA investigating Neymar complaint over unpaid Barcelona loyalty bonus|
|Wasps rest Lions star Daly amid burnout fears|
|Liverpool great Souness ´would snap Barcelona´s hand off´ for massive Coutinho fee|
|Walker-Peters signs new Tottenham contract after impressive debut|
|Sarri eyes Manchester United after Napoli reach Champions League groups|
|Appeal against Force Super Rugby axing adjourned|
|Ronaldo to play 90 minutes in Santiago Bernabeu Trophy clash|
|Seri denies Barcelona move has been agreed|
|Barcelona confirm hacking after Di Maria ´announcement´|
|Roark helps Nationals fend off Astros|
|Ancelotti: Bayern academy a good answer to Neymar move|
|Bautista Agut, Isner among winners as Verdasco, Simon crash out|
|LeBron calls Irving ´special talent´ in goodbye tweet|